U.N. official to look into abductions

Kyodo

U.N. representative Marzuki Darusman said Wednesday that he and Japanese minister Keiji Furuya agreed to strengthen cooperation regarding the North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s.

Darusman is a senior Indonesian jurist and member of the U.N. commission that released a February report denouncing the North Korean regime for crimes against humanity.

Darusman said that during the meeting, Furuya, who is in charge of the abduction issue, briefed him on Japan’s efforts to deal with the problem, and emphasized the importance of carrying out the recommendations of the U.N. report to move the investigation forward.

Darusman, who met with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday, thanked Japan for its cooperation in compiling the report and said it would be presented to the U.N. Security Council at its meeting April 17, where it is expected to be the subject of debate.

Given the U.N. Human Rights Council’s vote at the end of March in support of the report’s findings, Furuya suggested the United Nations establish an Asia office as a means of improving its ability to deal with the abduction issue and other human rights violations.

Darusman was expected later in the day to visit relatives of some of those abducted, including the parents of Megumi Yokota, who was abducted by North Korea in 1977 at age 13.